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Sham charity operators turn the Big C into a Big Con

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If you know someone with cancer, you may have considered donating to a cancer-related charity. Many legitimate charities use donations to find treatments and cures. Some support patients and families. But there also are bogus charities that lie, exploit your generosity, and use donations to help their managers, their friends, and their families, not the causes described to donors.

Sham Cancer Charities

Sham Cancer Charities

Today, the FTC, along with all 50 states and the District of Columbia, announced they have filed a complaint in federal court against four sham charities — Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America, and the Breast Cancer Society. Two of the operations have agreed to shut down, and three people agreed to permanent bans against ever managing charities, controlling charitable funds, or fundraising. Litigation continues against the other defendants, seeking to permanently end their allegedly illegal practices.

According to the complaint, the operators of these four so-called charities obtained more than $187 million from donors across the country. Potential donors were told their contributions would go to direct support for patients — things like medicine, cash help and groceries; transportation for chemotherapy; counseling; and hospice care. Some of those promises were just lies – the defendants did not pay for pain medication or hospice care for cancer patients at all. In truth, the sham charities spent most of the donated funds supporting themselves, their families and friends, and their paid fundraisers, who often received 85 percent or more of donations.

Before you give, take precautions to make sure your donations benefit the people and organizations you want to help.

  • Sleep on it. You don’t have to make a donation, or even a commitment to donate, on the spot.
  • Ask the charity questions directly about what it will do with your money.
  • Donate to charities you know and trust.

For more tips, visit Charity Scams. If you spot a scam, file a complaint with the FTC. Every complaint matters, and can lead to investigations and prosecutions.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


Have you looked into the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Foundation? I didn't think so!!

I have donated every year to the Cancer Fund inspite of not having enough every year for my basic needs. Thank you for your work to bring these crooks to justice.

Once upon the time I subscribe my self to be an activist to help people with cancer in my area..Little after I received a package with envelopes and forms for me to send out or to go in my neighbor for them to fill out the form and send the money to some where else..I though that was wrong and I refuse to do such thing..Why I may going to put my face to still money for some else ? I ask my self, from then I never believe in those fundraisers.....I bet, that this mechanism was part of the scam.. Sad!!

them dirty dogs

I have been saying this for years When I found out Avon keeps half the money raised on every single walk . I am a survivor I received nothing No help No wig No prosthetic Nothing There's a cure for cancer There's more money in treatment Shsme

Preach! It's been going on for a while now!

I America?? I'm loosing everything, am young to be disabled, worked 2 jobs, until 40s, returned to college, my 4 childrn, now independent, I rasied alone, no assistance, getting to point, was finally in good job, second marriage, con artist, ruined my credit, cleaned out my bank, I put new home / credit all in my name. Now in replevin of home, which is another issue, soon to be either homeless or in a SHELTER!!! 800.00 mo. In bucks pa! Can't get gov, legal help. Lupus, is my battle of many, but facing homelessness? How can this be? Anyone LYING ABOUT CANCER FUND RAISING OR ANY DISEASE DESERVES, extensive repercussions!!!! Where is all the " money" ??? How do they get away??? SICKNING. Then, it's hard work to find ANY HELP, these poor families with chemo, or no family help! Sickens me

Why are these people not prosecuted for their crimes against Humanity. Have them pay back what they stole, work off their debt by cleaning up the roadways,Community service for the needy, soup kitchens, etc., there are hundreds of things they can do to pay back their debt. Our Justice Dept Stinks. 5-19-2015.

Read the press release for more information about the monetary judgments imposed, bans set on defendants and federal and state charges against defendants.

American Cancer Society is a sham too. All the hair given to them as Charitable donations are sold to patients. Disgraceful!

There are a lot of churches that hide behind their tax exemption on property and goods also.My tithe to do Gods work should not be used for a private vacation at an all inclusive resort and a new car and a new home for the Pastor and his board.Been there done that.Now we just give our money to St Judes..

Do you mean Locks of Love? The American Cancer Society doesn't accept hair donations.(And if so, I agree. Locks of Love is a scam, hair is sold and no wigs are ever given to cancer patients - they only give or sell wigs to children with alopecia. I know children with alopecia need wigs, but LoL sells or destroys something like 75% of their donations and makes very few wigs per year.)

It is about time how do you justify going to work every day as over sight of these things when most of the Charitable's have Administrative cost ratios as high as 80/20...And the majority is administration costs directors TAKING excesses of SIX figures...I really hope this is the beggining and the Dog has Some Teeth.

SCAMMING is when the TWO top women from the Susan Komen Cancer charity receive almost ONE MILLION DOLLARS of donated money for their salaries (as far as I'm concerned)! I will NEVER give them a penny!

Shame Shame

Excellent work, glad to see you going after these frauds, and bringing them to court. However, after scamming people out of millions, it is disappointing that we have to settle for only having them "promise not to do it again."

The press release has information about the monetary judgments imposed, bans set on defendants and federal and state charges against defendants.

Did I miss the part where these scumbags go to jail?

FTC brings cases under civil authority. Read the press release for more information about the monetary judgments imposed, bans set on defendants, and federal and state charges against defendants.

They've gained while we have lost. There's a special place in hell for people who profit off the death and suffering of other's.

What an outrage. I have breast cancer and I know some of my family and friends donated to the Breast Cancer Society. My anger knows no bounds.

These people should receive more than a slap on the hand. Jail time and paying back the funds is the least that should happen to them. No punishment only encourages this despicable behavior

The reason why these crimes against humanity continue is because THERE IS NO JUSTICE FOR ALL, JUST CROOKS! The fact is, if the punishment was severe enough, the crimes would decrease substantially; however, it isn't so they won't. Someone needs to start hunting these dogs down because the system in place simply is not in society's best interest. I say, maybe the MOB needs a good paying job? ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

I received a email from Bill Gates donating to me 5 million dollars. The informationI have is Reserve Bamk of India. In care of Sonia Peterson chief exective Director of Acct Administration. Emailindiarsservedexx3 phone#+91-886-020-4502.Security code (FG/AHG/XGG/004)
They Asked for 1200.00 for bank transfer and 700.00 for corier Check. I contacted Bill Gates Foundation And it ia a SCAM that has been taking place for past year. Thought you should be made aware of this scam.

Thank you for sharing this story.

Please report to the FTC at The information you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.


You can find out if a charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials. You can check if the charity is trustworthy by contacting the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.

Has anyone received a call from the Breast Cancer Research & Support Fund? I received a call from them and spoke to a woman. She then transferred me to another woman. They talk fast, so fast I couldn't hear what the name of the so called charity was, and are very pushy, I told them I might afford $20.00. They sent me a form to fill out and send in with my donation. I researched them and could not find anything substantial on them. I will not be sending them anything.

Has anyone heard of We CAN-CER vive....

Before you give, do some research to see if the charity is trustworthy. Check out the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar.

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